Performance reviews have the potential to be a huge pain. Managers spend countless hours preparing for a traditional performance review. Yet more than half of office workers feel performance reviews have no impact on how they do their job.
But that’s just for traditional performance reviews.
Traditional annual reviews don’t work. Modern performance reviews are different.
Teams are over 12% more productive when managers provide feedback on their strengths. 83% of employees appreciate receiving feedback, whether it's positive or negative. Plus, businesses with highly engaged employees experience less turnover.
In short, effective, modern reviews take less time and are more effective than traditional reviews.
They are made even easier when you use the right performance review form.
Here’s what you need to know about creating effective performance review forms. We’re also sharing a few employee evaluation templates you can use to streamline your review process.
What is the Purpose of a Performance Review Form?
The simplest answer to this question is that performance review forms are meant to review employee performance. There is a lot more to it than that, however. Review forms need to be created with a certain purpose in mind for them to be effective.
Purposes you’ll want to choose from before creating a review form include:
- Accountability: Employees are evaluated based on carefully developed standards
- Development: Employees receive weekly one-on-ones, continuous feedback, and engagement surveys to support their ongoing development
- Recognition: Reviews focus on previous performance to recognize employees for their hard work and accomplishments
- Alignment: Goals are clearly articulated so employees know exactly what to do to achieve them
- Reinforcing Values: Values and expectations become part of the conversation, ensuring employee performance is tied to a greater purpose
Don’t feel like you have to pick one purpose and stick with it. You might want to incorporate two or three purposes throughout the year. Or, you may realize your team is evolving and requires a performance review form with a different purpose.
Get clear about your purpose before choosing a review process or creating a new form. That way you get meaningful data from your reviews, and your employees feel like the review was worth their time.
Five Tips for Creating Performance Review Forms
Once you have zeroed in on your purpose, you can begin to create a performance review form. Here are five tips that will make the process of creating your forms much easier:
- Offer constructive feedback
- Spend more time looking toward the future
- Tie forms to goals
- Include numeric answers for data analysis
- Use software to streamline the process
Offer constructive feedback
Constructive feedback is all about providing an employee with suggestions based on their performance. Sometimes it’s positive. More often than not, constructive feedback means focusing on areas of improvement.
Giving constructive feedback can be hard because you don’t want your employees to shut down or feel attacked. The truth is, over 90 percent of respondents from one survey agreed with the statement, "Negative (redirecting) feedback, if delivered appropriately, is effective at improving performance.”
It turns out employees aren’t scared of constructive feedback at all, as long as you’re careful about how it’s delivered!
So, what does it mean to deliver constructive feedback appropriately? Including the right information on an employee evaluation template can make it easier.
A few ideas include:
- Ask employees to give themselves a rating on topics that relate to their position
- Ask employees to share their areas of improvement
- List constructive feedback before contributions and successes to end the review meeting on a high note
- Management should share actionable advice the employee can follow that enables them to make improvements right away
Spend more time looking toward the future
Nearly half of the respondents of one survey said that receiving a performance review makes them feel like they can't do anything right. Over 20% have called in sick in the past because they were so anxious about receiving a review.
That’s not because reviews are inherently anxiety-producing. It’s usually because the review focuses on past mistakes. No one wants to dwell on all the things they’ve done wrong.
That doesn’t mean you can’t talk about areas of improvement. Just make sure you tie it to future behavior. It’s even better if you can talk about improvements from an employee-development point of view instead of behavior being a personal or professional failure. After all, nearly 90% of millennials say professional development and career growth are very important.
Include questions on the form that highlight the employee's work contributions towards the company's overall goals. Be sure to also talk about ways management can support employees in meeting their personal and professional goals. This will help keep the focus on future performance.
Tie forms to goals
Performance review forms should be used as more than just a way to gather information ahead of a performance review. When they are tied to goals, they can become an important reference for employees.
First, make sure at least some of the questions on the form address goals from previous reviews. That enables managers and employees to talk about goals that have been accomplished, goals that need to be adjusted, and goals that still need work.
Allow employees to come up with their own professional goals so they have ownership over the process and the outcome. Management should guide employees as they create new professional goals that follow the SMART system of being:
Include numeric answers for data analysis
Open-ended questions are impossible to measure. By including numeric answers for at least some of the questions on your review form, there’s data you can measure and analyze. You can discover general trends in how your workforce is feeling and how they are performing so you can come up with an action plan for the future.
Having numeric answers can also make life easier for employees. It’s a lot simpler to list a number in response to a question instead of composing an answer. It’s also faster, which busy employees will appreciate.
This doesn’t mean open-ended questions shouldn’t be in a performance review form. Answers to open-ended questions allow employees to express themselves exactly how they want, and they can be an easy way to get the conversation started when you get together to conduct the review. It just means you should also offer numeric answers for at least some of the questions on the form.
Use software to streamline the process
Managers spend an average of 17 hours on performance reviews, per person. That’s usually because HR sticks with old, outdated ways of conducting performance reviews. Although it may seem like it will save time to do what you’re already used to doing, you could save a ton of time by using software to streamline the process.
PerformYard is designed to make the review process easy without compromising the quality of the information you’re gathering. Our software makes it easy to create custom forms, send those forms with a click of a button, track the completion of the forms, aggregate data from the forms, and more.
The right software can automate many of the tasks in the review process that would normally take hours. Software can free up your time so you can focus on using the information you gather to make your business—and the employee experience—even better.
Performance Review Form Templates
Ready to try a new performance review form? There's no need to reinvent the wheel! We have employee performance evaluation report samples you can download and use as-is, or you can use the template as a starting point and customize it to fit your needs.
- Value-based performance review form
- 90-day performance review form
- Annual performance review form
- 360 performance review form
Value-based performance review form (with template)
Value-based reviews use the company's core values as the framework for the questions on the review form.
It's a good option for companies that are crystal clear about their values and want to make sure employees understand and embody those values. It's a popular choice for management teams that want to improve company culture. It's also a good option if you want employees to focus on self-reflection, and you want reviews to be more conversational.
90-day performance review form (with template)
90-day reviews incorporate both a self-review and a manager review ahead of the employee-manager meeting.
They are an especially effective way to review new employees. By making a review part of the onboarding process, employees can ask questions and share feedback, while your management team can gather data that can improve the onboarding process for future employees.
Annual performance review form (with template)
An annual performance review form is completed once a year by both the employee and management before the review meeting.
Annual reviews are best used in conjunction with other types of reviews so employees and management don’t have to wait an entire year to discuss performance or concerns. However, annual reviews are a great way to get a big-picture look at the employee’s performance and come up with big goals for the employee to focus on in the year ahead.
360 performance review form (with template)
360 feedback involves getting feedback from the employee about their performance, as well as management, but it also includes getting broad feedback from peers and coworkers.
This type of review is great for employees who regularly work collaboratively on different teams. It can also provide a more accurate and holistic view of employee performance since multiple people provide feedback.
Choosing the Right Form
There is no right or wrong performance review form. It's all about choosing the one that works for management and your employees. It could mean modifying one of our templates to fit your needs or combining a few different types of reviews to get a clearer picture of employee performance.
It might also mean updating your existing review software or trying new software for the first time. Try PerformYard to customize a streamlined review system, complete with forms, for your team.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a performance evaluation form?
A performance evaluation form is a document that highlight's an employee’s strengths and weaknesses. Its purpose is to encourage positive change in employee performance by clarifying expectations, setting goals, and providing both employees and management an opportunity for one-on-one discussion.
What should be included in a performance review form?
Effective performance evaluation forms include self-evaluation questions for employees and manager evaluation questions that can be completed ahead of the review meeting. Forms should include goals and input from peers and coworkers, as well as questions with numeric answers that can be measured and analyzed.
What are the different types of employee evaluation forms?
Some of the different types of evaluation forms include:
- Essay reviews with open-ended questions that require a written response
- Numerical scale forms that ask respondents to use a scale of 1 to 10
- Peer review forms that enable co-workers and managers to assess employee performance
- Group evaluation forms that enable you to assess team performance
- Self-evaluation forms that ask employees to evaluate their performance
Manager evaluations that enable management to rate employee performance